|Part of my favorite shopping center|
I have a confession. I do not like malls. It's not that I object to shopping as such. I just find indoor malls-claustrophobic, perhaps? I say that even as a person who lives in a place with winter. I say that even as I see the local mall where they are preparing to remodel looking to add restaurants, and even a micro brewery and a kids party zone to attract people.
|I did forget to hit Yankee Candle while I was there, sale or no sale|
Fortunately, most of the places I have lived have the alternative of the outdoor mall or "shops" I live in driving distance from the Streets at Southglenn, and in Texas I had Water's Creek and the Streets at Fairview. The closest thing to me is Aspen Grove, a three sided outdoor mall that also has a movie and a beer place and my local one of a kind bookstore. Today I had to return an item to a store, and hit the proverbial mother lode. One of the stores I shop it was having their deep summer sale (yes, I know it's barely July!). I ended up walking away with six items,. All of these tops were between forty and fifty dollars a couple weeks ago, and now were ten dollars. Let's just say that had there been more tops I liked, I would have purchased them all-and in fact I may go back again! These were all clothing I would wear, and included things like a sweater and a cardigan that can be worn year around, not just summer clothing.
|Unfortunately we are having a smokey haze today from Canada, so my natural light was not the best|
When I got home and got on the computer to write about my shopping and discount adventures today, I discovered that Clark's shoes have a large sale today, with two pairs of shoes being 99 dollars. Since most of their shoes retail for between $95 and $120, this is a great deal.
Financially, I did not have to "think" about either purchase. I was able (if I chose) to purchase both of these items. In both cases the purchase was a financial opportunity I could take advantage of, and improved my bottom line and eased my clothing budget. Put simply, it's for moments like this that I don't budget normally, and that I budget for much less than I make each month.
Some time ago, I talked about my grocery budget. That budget, like everything else not within the monthly housing/utility/insurance sphere is simply an average. Why? Because the best way to live frugally and yet not be deprived is to be able to take advantage of deep discounts-sometimes in bulk, sometimes not. Traditional budgeting says to budget by category. Traditional budgeting also says things like "even if it's a good deal, wait 24 hours and think it over". While I might do that for a car, at this point in my life I know what I need. I also know good prices when I see them and am rarely fooled by false sales (probably why I rarely shop at say, Kohl's).
Because my base spending is very low, I can take advantages of sales where cashmere sweaters sell for the price of Walmart Tshirts. Because I buy sweaters that are on sale for the price of t-shirts, I can have more clothing for less cost. Instead of budgeting $60 a month for clothing, I allow myself to pay a couple hundred dollars for clothing on sale, and then may not buy anything for months. Just as my food budget may be $500 in one month and $150 in the next.
In the long run, by budgeting only for those basic monthly expenses and minimal groceries, I make that pot of disposable income work for me. I end up with more things I need and want at better prices, more fluid cash, more travel and fun money and a rich life in retirement.
This doesn't mean that I don't set financial priorities by the way-for me that's different than budgeting. Those priorities are still home, family, health and travel. But because I budget tight to the bone to make room for "opportunity spending" the bottom line gets better.
|Yep, occasionally I have to add a dog picture-just because!|
And it's not just about clothing. Nor, honestly is it only about needs. That fabric that was over sixty percent off I talked about before? Had that been quilting fabric, I would have probably pulled everything I liked-and then been able to make quilts for six months. In my email today was a message from Joe's Crab Shack about "two fer" Tuesdays. Best Western has a deal where if you buy a $100 gift card, and you get a $50 one free. I have no intent to travel immediately, but when I do, I know of two very classy five star Best Westerns I will be visiting-and because I purchased two gift cards now, I'll have one free night out of three then.
And so it goes.
I suppose I should add a disclaimer here. I know what my priorities are in terms of life and spending and re-evaluate them, and I know what I have and need in terms of possessions. I can see how someone who was not in my place, might prefer to budget monthly or differently. And I do track all my spending and take a note every few months if I feel that one area is out of whack.
It's what works for me!